“The Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.” (Num 22:13) With these words Balaam answered the servants of king Balak of Moab when approached to perform a certain job for the king. But Balaam first inquired of the Lord about whether he should go, and God said no.
So king Balak sent another, even more distinguished, contingent of men to Balaam to really turn his arm to come and do the job for king Balak. Once again Balaam answered them “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.” (verse 18)
A similar thing is recorded in 1 Ki 13:7 – 9 where “a man of God” went to king Jeroboam and “The king said to the man of God, ‘Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.’ But the man of God said to the king, ‘If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’”
When the king says, come home with me and I will give you a reward, most of us will in our mind’s eye see $-signs and will be just too glad to accept the king’s offer of being invited to the palace.
To say no to that, requires a different spirit. There may be the thoughts of telling your friends about your visit to the palace and about the money paid to you by the king himself, and to then say no to all that, requires a different character. People who are able to do this knows that there is a higher purpose with eternal rewards that is bigger than anything that this world has to offer.
In our materialistic world almost everything is measured in terms of money. We judge people by how wealthy they are, the houses we live in, the cars we drive, etc. But in the end the only thing that really matters and by which our lives will be judged, is whether we served the higher purpose of God.